- More than 120,000 children have lost their primary caregiver to the pandemic, and more than 20,000 have lost a secondary caregiver, a new study finds
- Researchers from the CDC, NIH, Oxford and Harvard found that one in every 500 children in the US has lost a parent or guardian.
- Nearly two-thirds of children who lost a caregiver were found to be minorities, with Native American and black children being hurt the most.
- Researchers recommend comprehensive strategies to support mental health of children who have lost a parent
Since the virus first hit the US early last year, COVID-19 has caused more than 700,000 deaths, and orphaned many children in the process, a new study finds.
A joint study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)-National Institutes of Health-Oxford University, Harvard University and others found that more than 140,000 Americans have lost their parents. Have given. Or parents because of covid.
Nearly one child has lost a parent for every four Covid deaths, and nearly one in every 500 children in the US has lost a parent to the virus.
Minority children have been disproportionately affected, accounting for two out of every three children losing a parent.
Researchers found that more than 140,000 children lost a caregiver to the COVID-19 pandemic, and fear that the loss could affect families for generations (file image)
“The horrors of the young people affected are reminiscent of the devastating impact of the past 18 months,” co-lead researcher Dr Alexandra Blenkinsop, from Imperial College London, said in a statement.
‘These findings really highlight the children who have been left most vulnerable by the pandemic, and where additional resources should be directed.’
The researchers, who published their findings Wednesday in the journal Pediatrics, collected mortality, fertility and census data, focusing on deaths from April 2020 to June 2021.
They looked at COVID deaths and COVID-associated deaths, meaning people who died from contributing factors related to the pandemic, such as lack of access to medical care.
In all, they found 120,630 children who had lost a primary caregiver to the pandemic, and 22,007 children who had lost a secondary caregiver – someone who provided housing for the child, but not others, such as food and clothing. not basic needs.
Researchers believe that these deaths will not only affect children in the short term, but could harm families for generations.
Lead author Dr Susan Hillis, a senior technical adviser to the CDC COVID-19 International Task Force, said: ‘Children facing orphans as a result of Covid are a hidden, global pandemic that, sadly, has not affected the United States. is spared.
‘All of us – especially our children – will feel the serious immediate and long-term impact of this problem for generations to come.
‘Addressing the loss these children have experienced – and continue to experience – should be one of our top priorities, and it should be woven into all aspects of our emergency response, both now and in the post-pandemic future. .’
Researchers recommend that health officials implement strategies to help children cope with the trauma of coping with the loss of a caregiver and support their mental health.
“The death of a parent is a huge loss that can reshape a child’s life. We must work to ensure that all children have access to evidence-based prevention interventions that can help them navigate this trauma, to support their future mental health and well-being,” said NIDA. Director Dr Nora Volkow said.
The study found that minority children were particularly affected by the pandemic.
Of the 142,637 children who lost a caregiver, 65 percent — or just under two-thirds — were minorities.
One in every 168 Native American children, one in every 310 black children and one in every 412 Hispanic children lost a caregiver to the pandemic.
By comparison, one in every 612 Asian children and one in every 753 white children experienced a similar loss.
Previous analysis found that the epidemic is disproportionately killed minority community, especially the black community.
More people in those communities dying means more of their children will be left without caregivers.
‘We must address the many underlying inequalities and health disparities that put people of color at greater risk of getting COVID-19 and dying from COVID-19, which may affect children of color as parents or caregivers and related adverse events. puts you at greater risk of impacts. on their development,’ Volkow said.